There is an election issue that has received no attention locally in the five years that I have lived in this area.
The issue is one of the policy of strata councils, residences and apartment buildings to place “no trespassing” or “no admittance” signs at their front entrances.
This is obviously meant to limit access to anyone who does not live in the complex. The only real problem with this is that the strata is breaking a federal law, Bill 81, in the process. Bill 81 was passed distinctly to address this issue. This federal law says clearly that no building manager or property manager can restrict access to political candidates or to their canvassers, so long as access is during daylight hours.
There is a potential fine for anyone caught breaking this law. This law is for municipal and provincial campaigns, as well as federal.
I fully realize that such strata councils are tired of seeing religious persons, or salesmen, or – even worse – potential thieves, entering the property. Such people often hassle the residents unnecessarily. Since many of the residents are elderly, this makes it more necessary to control access to outsiders.
However, common sense should rule. No political candidate is going to hassle a potential voter to the point that the voter becomes “turned-off” on that candidate.
I have seen examples where some strata managers will come charging down the road, screaming like a wounded elephant and using foul language to make their point. The fact that their signage on the front gate is breaking the federal law does not register with them, even after being told.
It is unfortunate here in Chilliwack that the election Returning officers for these campaigns don’t seem to be aware of this law and if they do, they conveniently ignore it. It is the responsibility of the Returning Officers as well as the RCMP to advertise this law prior to an election.
Again, why some strata managers think that they have a “God-given” right to restrict law-abiding candidates from entry mystifies me. It is long overdue that Chilliwack joins the rest of Canada in enforcing this federal law without having to lay charges against the perpetrators.”